The Presidential Palace confirmed Friday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would fly to London for the G-20 Summit early next month aboard national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, despite a flight ban on all Indonesian airlines in EU airspace.
Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told The Jakarta Post that the Garuda plane bringing the President to the UK capital would be exempted from the ban because of its status as a “presidential carrier”.
“It is a presidential airplane, so it won’t be affected by the ban,” he said.
The flight ban, imposed by the European Commission, came into effect in mid-2007 for all Indonesian airlines due to safety concerns, following a series of fatal accidents involving airlines in the country.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said last month Indonesia expected to comply with all the remaining flight safety requirements set by the EC, a prerequisite before the flight ban is lifted; and to see Garuda airplanes start flying to Europe in June.
Ambassador and Head of Delegation for the EU and EC to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam Julian Wilson said earlier in January the EC was impressed by Indonesia’s new aviation law, which was passed by the House of Representatives last year, although implementing the regulations would still be needed to make the law applicable on the ground.
Dino said the president would definitely attend the summit, sche-duled for April 2, despite his hectic schedule ahead of the legislative elections on April 9.
It was reported earlier that Yudhoyono was still unsure whether he would attend the summit because of the elections, which will see his Democratic Party fight 37 other political parties for 560 House seats.
However, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda suggested Indonesia not squander the invitation to attend the G-20 Summit.
Dino said the President would likely not be able to attend all the meeting sessions due to his domestic agenda. “He will leave some sessions out,” Dino said.
The London summit is a follow-up to the Washington summit in November last year, which Yudhoyono attended. It aims at reaching international agreement on reviving the world’s slumping economy.
Hassan said earlier this week Indonesia would again propose the global expenditure fund scheme, which it introduced at the Washington summit.
“The global expenditure fund will allow all countries access to the funds to revive each of their real sectors… We will struggle to get the concept adopted as a joint effort of the international community to tackle the crisis,” Hassan said.